PACCI: the fight against infectious diseases
Launched in 1996 between the Ivory Coast and France, PACCI* is a program dedicated to developing research on infectious diseases and using the results of such research to benefit the people in need.
In the beginning…
The PACCI program, part of the French National Agency for Research on AIDS (ANRS), was created as a research site. In total, eight ANRS research sites exist in Africa, Asia and South America.
During the initial years, the major focus of the PACCI/ANRS Ivory Coast program was on HIV infection with two main objectives:
- Provide healthcare staff with training on HIV/AIDS medical research,
- Exploit the results of HIV/AIDS research in order to benefit those in need.
In 2010, based on the durability and success of the program, its scope was extended in terms of research and partners. In addition to carrying out research on HIV, the PACCI medical research team started work on viral hepatitis, tuberculosis, epidemic-prone infectious diseases (including hemorrhagic fevers) and mother/child health.
Additional partners (the University of Bordeaux, Inserm and the Ivorian Ministry of research) joined the PACCI agreement and three years later, in 2013, an “International Joint Laboratory” (LIA) was officially signed between the ANRS, the University of Bordeaux, Inserm and the Université Félix-Houphouët-Boigny (Abidjan, Ivory Coast). This LIA, the first ever in sub-Saharan Africa, aims to:
- Promote the development of biomedical research on HIV and other infectious diseases in sub-Saharan Africa,
- Encourage exchanges between university staff, including researchers and technical and administrative members,
- Boost student exchanges between establishments.
As part of the PACCI agreement, the program now also includes a “Centre de Recherche sur les Maladies Infectieuses et Pathologies Associées” (CERMIPA - Research Center for Infectious Diseases and Associated Pathologies). This center, a rarity in Africa, represents a 100% Ivorian, independent, academic research structure with a highly-experienced team.
The PACCI program manages projects in clinical and operational research, social science research, methodological support for research and medical training for Master and PhD students. These projects, which totaled a number of 33 in 2017/2018 also include the publication of scientific articles and are carried out in 19 countries (of which 16 are based in Africa).
The team counts approximately 100 collaborators and is largely composed of scientists (researchers and medical doctors), engineers and technicians (for the project management process).
The PACCI scientific seminar
In March 2019, the PACCI scientific seminar took place. This event, organized every 2 years, represents a week of meetings and presentations concerning ongoing or recently completed projects. This year, the weeks agenda covered a workshop on the question of ethics in field research, project presentations on the topics of tuberculosis, HIV (antiretroviral therapeutic strategies), viral hepatitis, research networks and platforms, cervical cancer screening, sexual health and prevention. The final days of the seminar concerned meetings with Ivorian health, research and academic authorities as well as with the University of Bordeaux. The INTENSE-TB project was also officially launched on this occasion.
The PACCI program, along with a network of 20 countries, is planning to extend its activities to non-infectious diseases (chronic respiratory diseases, malnutrition, cancers, etc.). Several projects with researchers from other disciplines (economics, political science, geography, etc.) are in the pipeline.
Dr. X. Anglaret — Senior researcher, head of the “Infectious diseases in lower income countries” team, University of Bordeaux
- Ivory Coast: Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene, Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Ministry of Economics and Finance
- France: University of Bordeaux, Inserm, ANRS-Inserm, Embassy of France in the Ivory Coast
*PACCI: “Programme ANRS Coopération Côtes d’Ivoires” – ANRS (French National Agency for Research on AIDS) Ivory Coast Cooperation Program.